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  • $30k Ouch!

    Tenant awarded $30k after living with his family in uninsulated sleepout
    24 Jan 2021
    Originally posted by Stuff
    A south Auckland tenant has been awarded $30,000 from the tenancy tribunal after his family spent three years living in a sleepout with no insulation or sufficient ventilation. Sukhmander Singh Brar and his family had rented the property on Takanini School Rd from PFSL Rentals Ltd.
    Why wait three years to complain, I wonder?

    I wonder if the sole Director, one Suryakantamma Phutane, will wind up the company, rather than hand over $30k?
    Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

  • #2
    So it was consented as a 'games room' and being used as a minor dwelling. Well, this will be happening a lot, particularly in South Auckland.

    The PI educators in the area and in other parts of the country - e.g. Wellington have used the reno strategy to increase rental return. There will be hundreds if not thousands of properties with garages converted into 'games rooms' but used as a minor dwelling.

    While the example Stuff has reported is a combo of an unhealthy dwelling - what it really points to is the fact that it was an illegal dwelling - i.e. consented as a games room or sleepout but rented as a minor dwelling.

    What's a 'sleepout? Well, you may not know this (and I didn't) a sleepout to be legal must NOT have a bathroom or kitchen facilities but it can have a toilet and a kitchenette. So no hob but it can have a bench, sink, microwave.

    So as soon as you put in a full bathroom - you need consent and without it, the tenant has cause to take you to the TT for a partial or full refund.

    I can not imagine how many 'granny flats' there are rented out that are non-consented.

    However, Perry, didn't you find out that if you add outbuildings to your own home (PPOR) they don't have to abide by the RTA?

    So, your own granny flat rented out is your own business but put one on your rental property to grab rents from two dwellings and it's not got consent and you could be in for a shock aye.

    cheers,

    Donna

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    Comment


    • #3
      PPOR outbuildings used for family members (E.g. Granny flat) have different rules - that's all I can vaguely recall. Once rented to non-family-members, it's a different matter.

      It seems safe to presume that the tenants were desperate and looking at the rent figure, for Auckland, perhaps they weren't that hard done by and just saw the RTA changes as a way of making a killing?

      Really, this is just another symptom of abysmal gummint housing policy. (If indeed they even have a realistic such policy.)

      I think a sleepout can have a portable, plug-in hotplate. Just not a permanently-installed set of integral cooking elements.
      Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

      Comment


      • #4
        there are no rules for one that dont apply to other except RTA imposiopntions for insulation statements etc.

        it is simply incorrect to say that a building in illegal because it is not approved.

        The TT is using RTA's " unlawful" to mean unapproved when this is not the case. An unapproved building is not unlawful and the offence was to the person doing the work not the work. If it complies with the district plan it also doesnt need permision to be there or be rented.

        This is bull shit decision that should be appealed.Jack Tam is a fool!

        Comment


        • #5
          We have a sleepout that was converted from a garage by the previous owner. They sneakily got consent for a bathroom and laundry around 2001 in the garage. We kept the brochure from the real estate agent when we bought it so nobody can argue that we did the conversion. Its insulated and has a portable cooktop. The "laundry" is being used as a kitchenette. The council were here recently and we expected them to query the sleepout but he simply asked "is this another dwelling?" I said no, a granny flat. He said "OK no problem then".

          Comment


          • #6
            A good example importance of knowing the right answer. If you had said yes then they could have made trouble.

            Comment


            • #7
              Yeah - we got consent for a bathroom in our garage - not that long ago, and we have set up an office with the ensuite and a 2 car garage. We went the extra mile on the rebuild of the 54 sqm building - new roof, framing, cladding, double glazed windows, doors etc - insulation in the walls and ceiling (it's on a concrete base) and sometime in the future it will make a lovely granny flat. Not sure what hoops we will need to jump through to have it on record as a granny flat. Right now it's servicing its purpose is our office. Most couriers think it's a house.

              cheers,

              Donna

              SEARCH PropertyTalk, About PropertyTalk

              BusinessBlogs - the best business articles are found here

              Comment


              • #8
                ummm..... you needed consent for the insulation to walls..

                and if you need consent for conversion to granny you need consent to conversion to office?

                answer;
                you dont need consent for either and if you say you replaced existing insulation then that is ok as well

                Comment


                • #9
                  Has the full case pdf court file being released for this?

                  I'd like to have a look over it as it seems on the surface quite an insane ruling to award the tenant 30k ?

                  So the points are :

                  The building is consented as a sleepout

                  The family lived there for around 3 years paying a low rent of $200 pw

                  The building itself was uninsulated

                  Cooking appliances used were portable thereby negating fixed wiring for an oven install

                  I can understand a fine based on the lacking of insulation but the insanity of a complete refund on the rent is a draconian absurdity .

                  Literally there will be thousands of situations like this throughout NZ..
                  I hope this gets appealed otherwise it may set a dangerous precedent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately, TT Kangaroo Kourts are:
                    1) exempt from following the law;
                    2) exempt from determination precedents set by TTKKs in other areas.
                    (Section 85 RTA)
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                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The tribunal member responsible for this decision is ex small claims tribunal Jack Tam and a disaster in that forum as well.

                      he is supposed to be a trained lawyer but he has little appreciation for the rule of law?

                      I suggested in #4 above that this needs appeal and i suggested in an email to PM to that effect but didnt hear back. The time for appeal is likely now gone by..

                      the industry needs to get behind LL's and fight these decisions

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't remember the process, but there's two options. One's an appln. for a re-Hearing and t'other is an appeal to the District Court. They differ in several ways.
                        Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by John the builder View Post
                          The tribunal member responsible for this decision is ex small claims tribunal Jack Tam and a disaster in that forum as well.

                          he is supposed to be a trained lawyer but he has little appreciation for the rule of law?

                          I suggested in #4 above that this needs appeal and i suggested in an email to PM to that effect but didnt hear back. The time for appeal is likely now gone by..

                          the industry needs to get behind LL's and fight these decisions
                          PFSL Rentals Ltd the agency pinged with the fine, i would think should be vehemently challenging this.

                          It looks though they are a reasonable substantial company :

                          https://www.facebook.com/Prorentals9934/?__xts__[0]=68.ARCLaKBiyyximO3nYsV6G-etPIhZCCMY81vL7_GHRbFdM-qEJRh9Lsizg0mhZfbPVItzgH5OjXXQma0hzYVsl5l7ih93Udyz AuCIw5CkCErpjPmVf4bkFs8rwQa85XY1mlPrUIqDOyNndjKxF-bdHJDqkyp-VjeNqy-i7ufvTP471rsEg12TQ0d6zoeVoaJfbrel9M5RQrOhLW-LxcR6bOt8ZIEJQ7DP47i3UWm7jEv34RqEPSOSPOuR88EdZNDfK zhKIKh69_bKaZuEg38VyBoT4O0N3iffZyzYY1ZnL7L4Y1OEHiG r
                          Last edited by mrsaneperson; 16-02-2021, 04:54 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have found the application order , issued by the Tenancy Tribunal . Just briefly reading it the main thrust appears to be the "change of use of a building".

                            Comments and ideas?

                            Here is the PDF:

                            https://forms.justice.govt.nz/search...Number=4274718

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If it was a really evil and bad, anti-LL precedent, perhaps then it could be a matter that should attract the attention of the NZPIF?
                              Want a great looking concrete swimming pool in Hawke's Bay? Designer Pools will do the job for you!

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